Simple Red Beans and Rice Recipe

This Simple Red Beans and Rice recipe is a hallmark of Cajun cuisine. Nevertheless, every cook’s recipe is bound to be a little different, and that’s ok. For some, ham hocks, andouille sausage, or bacon are a must; for others, it’s salt pork.

This Simple Red Beans and Rice Recipe isn’t just a dish; it’s a cultural tapestry. Cooked in many ways and in countless kitchens. This humble meal was originally a Monday staple because of its clever use of Sunday’s ham leftovers. Leftover ham simmered with red beans and served over rice still makes a delicious meal.

Over time, it has evolved but always remained true to its simple, hearty nature. Packed with protein and fiber, red beans and rice is not only easy to make but also incredibly satisfying. It stands as a beloved classic, effortlessly blending tradition with the comfort of home cooking. Join us as we explore this soulful delight, making it accessible to kitchens everywhere.

Main Ingredients

  • 1 pound red beans – Remember to soak them overnight, or if time escapes you, a 1-hour hot water bath will do the trick!
  • 1 pound andouille sausage (or your choice) – Sliced. Feel free to swap for your preferred type of sausage to tailor the dish to your taste.
  • 4 stalks of celery – These add a nice crunch and a fresh flavor.
  • 1 red bell pepper & one green bell pepper – They bring color and a sweet, slightly tangy flavor.
  • 1 onion – The base of any good dish, offering depth and sweetness.
  • 2 garlic cloves – For that essential kick.
  • Spices: 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, and Cajun seasoning – These will ensure your dish is packed with flavor.
  • 64 ounces of broth or water – This will be the cooking liquid that the beans will simmer in. You can use either or a mix!

Optional Ingredients for Customization

  • Smoked Turkey Sausage – A healthier alternative that doesn’t skimp on flavor.
  • Vegetable Broth – To keep it vegetarian-friendly without compromising the depth of taste.
  • Cayenne Pepper or Hot Sauce – For those who like to kick the heat up a notch.
  • Green Onions & Parsley – For garnishing and adding a fresh finish just before serving.

Feel free to get creative and adjust the recipe to suit what’s available in your kitchen or to match your dietary preferences. The beauty of red beans and rice is its adaptability.

Preparation and Cooking Instructions

red beans and rice

Now that your kitchen is brimming with excitement and all your ingredients are laid out, let’s get into the heart of cooking. This process is simple, yet every step you take adds to the richness of the flavors. Remember, cooking is not just about feeding the body but also nourishing the soul. Here’s your step-by-step guide to creating a masterpiece that’s sure to warm hearts and fill bellies.

Step 1: Preparing the Red Beans

  • Soaking Overnight: For best results, soak your red beans in plenty of water overnight. This traditional method reduces cooking time and makes the beans easier to digest.
  • Quick Soak Method: Short on time? No worries! Just cover your beans with hot water in a pot, bring to a boil for two minutes, then remove from heat. Cover and let it stand for 1 hour. This method is almost as good as overnight soaking.
  • Rinsing: Before cooking, drain and rinse the beans thoroughly under cold water. This step ensures that any impurities are removed.

Step 2: Cooking the Beans

  • Start with the Sausage: Heat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium. Cook the sliced sausage until browned, then set aside. This not only cooks the sausage but also leaves flavorful bits in the pot that will enrich the beans.
  • Sauté Vegetables: In the same pot, add a little oil if needed and sauté your onions, celery, and bell peppers until soft – about 5 minutes. The fragrance tells you it’s done right.
  • Bring it Together: Add the sausage back into the pot along with the garlic, soaked beans, and broth or water. Stir in your spices now – the garlic powder, onion powder, and Cajun seasoning. The mix should be fragrant and inviting.
  • Simmer Away: Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1½ hours. If the beans are not tender enough for your liking after this time, continue cooking for another 15-30 minutes. Patience is key – good food takes time.

Step 3: Perfect Rice

  • The Ratio: A simple rule for perfectly fluffy rice is the 1:2 ratio – one cup of rice to two cups of water.
  • Cooking the Rice: Bring water to a boil, stir in the rice, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 18 minutes. No peeking! Keep the lid on to trap the steam.
  • Rest, then Fluff: After 18 minutes, remove from heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes. This allows all the moisture to be absorbed evenly. Then, fluff with a fork.

Final Touches

  • Thicken the Beans: To achieve that creamy texture, take out some beans, mash them into a paste, and stir them back into the pot. This step thickens the sauce beautifully.
  • Taste and Adjust: Seasoning is personal. Taste your beans and adjust the spices, salt, or heat as you like. Maybe a splash of hot sauce?

So, there you have it, a bubbling pot of savory, heartwarming red beans and rice. Serve it over the fluffy rice, garnish with green onions or parsley if you like, and enjoy the applause. Cooking is love made visible, and with this dish, you’re sure to spread lots of love.

Nutritional Benefits of Simple Red Beans and Rice Recipe

Red beans and rice aren’t just a treat for the taste buds but also a boon for your health. The red beans are a powerhouse of nutrition, brimming with protein, fiber, and antioxidants that support heart health and aid in digestion.

Meanwhile, incorporating whole-grain rice instead of white can offer additional fiber and nutrients, contributing to a feeling of fullness and steady energy levels. The andouille sausage, while flavorful, can be swapped for leaner meats like chicken or turkey sausage to reduce fat intake without compromising taste.

The vegetables added to the dish not only enhance its flavor but also provide essential vitamins and minerals, promoting overall well-being. This dish exemplifies how traditional comfort food can be both satisfying and healthful, making it a perfect addition to any balanced diet.

a bowl of simple red beans and rice recipe

Variations and Customizations

Red beans and rice is a versatile dish that welcomes a variety of twists and customizations to suit any palate. Whether you’re aiming for a meatless Monday or looking for ways to spice things up, here are a few ideas:

  • Vegetarian and Vegan Modifications: Easily turn this dish vegan by omitting the sausage or swapping it for a plant-based alternative. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken or beef broth and ensure your Cajun seasoning is free from animal products.
  • Spice Level Adjustments: Control the heat by adjusting the amount of Cajun seasoning or by adding cayenne pepper to taste. For an extra kick, serve with hot sauce on the side, allowing everyone to customize their bowl.
  • Meat Variations: While andouille sausage is traditional, feel free to experiment with other meats. Chicken, turkey sausage, or even shrimp can be excellent additions. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly, especially for quicker-cooking proteins like shrimp.
  • Rice Alternatives: Substitute white rice with brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice for a nutritional boost or to cater to dietary preferences. Note that alternative grains might have different cooking times and water requirements.
  • Additional Vegetables: Increase the dish’s nutritional profile by adding more vegetables such as spinach, kale, or zucchini. Add these closer to the end of the cooking time to retain their color and nutrients.

Feel free to mix and match these suggestions to create your signature version of red beans and rice. The beauty of this dish lies in its flexibility, making it a perfect canvas for your culinary creativity.

Serving Suggestions of Simple Red Beans and Rice

Presenting red beans and rice not only satisfies the appetite but also the senses. For a truly memorable meal, consider these serving suggestions:

  • Garnish Liberally: Brighten up the dish with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley or green onions. Their fresh flavors and vibrant colors not only add a visual appeal but also a burst of freshness.
  • Side Dishes: Pair with traditional sides like cornbread or a crisp green salad to balance the richness of the beans. The sweetness of the cornbread and the acidity of a vinaigrette-dressed salad can contrast beautifully with the savory beans.
  • For Larger Gatherings: Serve in a large, communal pot or have a buffet-style setup with the rice and beans in separate dishes. This way, guests can customize their plates according to their preferences.
  • Beverage Pairings: Complement the flavors with a cold, crisp beer or a glass of full-bodied red wine. For a non-alcoholic option, iced tea or lemonade balances the dish’s hearty nature perfectly.

Remember, the joy of eating extends beyond just the taste—presentation, and the right combinations can elevate the dining experience significantly.

Storage and Reheating

Proper storage and reheating techniques can help maintain the deliciousness of your red beans and rice for days after cooking. Here’s how to keep it tasting great:

  • Storage: Cool the red beans and rice to room temperature before storing them to prevent bacterial growth. Separate the beans and rice into airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 5 days. For longer storage, freeze them in freezer-safe bags or containers for up to 3 months. Label with the date so you can keep track of how long they’ve been stored.
  • Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy your meal again, thaw frozen beans and rice in the refrigerator if necessary. Reheat on the stove over medium heat, adding a little water or broth to the beans to prevent them from drying out. Stir occasionally until heated through. If using a microwave, cover the dish and heat in short intervals, stirring in between to ensure even warming.

By following these storage and reheating guidelines, you can enjoy your homemade red beans and rice with minimal loss of flavor and texture, making it a convenient and tasty option for future meals.


Red beans and rice is more than just a dish. Its versatility and adaptability allows it to remain a beloved meal across generations.

This dish also serves as a hearty weeknight dinner, a festive communal gathering, or a comforting meal prep option. So get ready to savor the goodness of this red beans and rice recipe.

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, please sign up for my email newsletter. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a rating or review. I would love to hear what you think!

Happy cooking and bon appétit!

simple red beans and rice recipe

Simple Red Beans and Rice Recipe
You'll love spooning these tender, flavorful red beans over fluffy rice! Pair it with some skillet cornbread for a perfect meal.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • 1 soup pot
  • 1 Dutch oven


  • 1 pound red beans Soak overnight or 1 Hour hot water bath
  • 1 pound anduoite sausage (or your choice) sliced
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun season
  • 64 ounces broth or water to cover beans 2 inches or combination of both


  • Soak beans overnight or do ! hour hot water bath.
  • Cook sliced sausages in Dutch oven. Set aside.
  • In the same pot, sauté the onion, bell pepper, celery until soft.
  • Add the sausage back to pot. Add the garlic, beans and broth or water.
  • Cook on medium heat for 11/2 hours. If needed cook another 15-30 minutes until desired tenderness.
  • Serve over rice. Enjoy!

Crockpot Method

  • Combine all ingredients in your crockpot and set on high for 6 hours
  • To thicken beans; when done take some of the beans out and smash into a loose paste, then pour back into crockpot.
  • Adjust the seasoning to YOUR taste.


Nutrition Estimates:
Calories: 565kcal (28%) Carbohydrates: 74g (25%) Protein: 29g (58%) Fat: 17g (26%) Saturated Fat: 5g (31%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g Monounsaturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 49mg (16%) Sodium: 963mg (42%) Potassium: 1196mg (34%) Fiber: 10g (42%) Sugar: 3g (3%) Vitamin A: 504IU (10%) Vitamin C: 16mg (19%) Calcium: 88mg (9%) Iron: 6mg (33%)
Keyword red beans and rice

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